From the Desk of Becky Ramsey Leporati: The Soden-Trueblood Graduate Publishing Fellow Program

A call for applications has just gone out looking for the 2016-17 Soden-Trueblood Graduate Publishing Fellow (application deadline: March 18, 2016). The fellowship gives one Masters or PhD student the opportunity to work in a variety of departments, including editorial, production, and marketing. Throughout the course of the fellowship the student will be exposed to a wide range of areas in the publication process, including acquisitions, copyediting, design, production, electronic publication, and marketing. The fellowship will also offer a larger sense of the publishing profession and current issues gained through readings, opportunities to network within and outside the press, and discussions about career issues and further educational opportunities.

As part of a series of guest posts from the desks of UW Press staffers, 2015-2016 Graduate Publishing Fellow Becky Ramsey Leporati describes her experiences at the press.

Becky Ramsey Leporati-portraitIt’s Thursday morning and I’m at my desk at the University of Washington Press, checking my email and enjoying the view out my window. I can see the top of the Space Needle just over the parking garage across the street. On my to-do list this morning: reviewing revisions to book summaries I’ve written for the Marketing department, finishing edits to a manuscript for publication this fall, and submitting applications to the Library of Congress for cataloging records. I’m here twenty hours each week, so I want to make each one count.

I’ve been working at the press since last September, getting a couple of quiet weeks in before the quarter started and homework, classes, and department commitments started competing for my ever-dwindling time. In other words, I got to just enjoy learning about books before jumping back into the typical life of a graduate student. Even amid all the chaos, though, my time at the press has largely been a peaceful break from that torrent. It’s an opportunity to really understand a process, to see how books go from idea to manuscript to product.

One great advantage of the fellowship is how open it is to the research and professional interests of the fellows. Last year, for example, the fellow was a PhD student in the Communications Department, Will Mari. Since Will’s plan is to become a professor, his interest in academic publishing mostly came from the content production side. He was able to get a good idea of how the press works to better inform him as a future author of academic books.

I, on the other hand, am finishing up my degree in library science this year. As a future academic librarian, I wanted to learn more about publishing as scholarly communication. As a support for faculty looking to publish, I will now be able to better explain what they need to know about the publishing process. I will also be better informed as I make buying decisions to grow the monograph collection at my future institution.

While this fellowship has allowed for concentrated explorations of specific career goals, it is also quite indulgent of general curiosity. I have had great conversations with people in every department of the press about what they do and what they see on the horizon. It’s not surprising, then, that many people have gone on from this fellowship not just to become faculty members and authors, but also editors and other publishing professionals.

As we look for the next graduate student to fill this role, I am hoping that the opportunity will go to someone curious about publishing who can share a new perspective no one has heard from before. Maybe it will be you!

One thought on “From the Desk of Becky Ramsey Leporati: The Soden-Trueblood Graduate Publishing Fellow Program

  1. Pingback: March 2016 News, Reviews, and Events | University of Washington Press Blog

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